Waterfalls June 29, 2008

Filed under: The Daily Grind — bloodsweatntears @ 3:28 pm

I went to see Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls, along the East River. We couldn’t have picked a better time to go, as the sun was starting to set and the sky was a beautiful shade of pink and purple. I love the twilight hour, whether it is dawn or dusk. And being along the river there is a such a nice breeze!

And then I had a discussion with another friend of mine about public art. His argument was that our tax dollars were going to this project, which would promote tourist dollars and therefore support big box stores that are invading our beloved city. While I’m no fan of big box stores, I’m not sure I totally agree. What makes this a great city to live in is the abundance of art and culture. While large publicized installments such as this one will certainly draw in crowds of tourists, it’s free to the public which is a treat. There’s no denying that Mayor Bloomberg is first and foremost a businessman, yes. But I guess it doesn’t really bother me that much. I like to view public art as something that’s available to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Here we were, enjoying the falls with people we’d never see set foot in a museum. I find a lot of beauty in that.

And as I walked down to meet my friend by the Brooklyn Bridge, I wound through the heart of the Lower East Side into the depths of Chinatown. It felt like another world – and I loved it. This is what the real New York feels like to me. People who have lived here for generations, playing ball in the local playgrounds. I don’t think they even spoke much English. I used my instincts and took streets that led me south and east, not knowing my direct path but keeping my eye on the bridges. It was a fun walk, I should do that more often.

:Photo by Kathy Wu:


Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone June 24, 2008

Filed under: Health and Happiness — bloodsweatntears @ 4:49 pm

I’m working with this new motto these days, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I just signed up for a swim class today. My second one ever! I first learned how to swim 10 years ago, at the age of 23. It still is one of the best things I’ve done in my life so far. I had such a deep rooted fear of swimming. Overcoming that fear was an amazing experience for me.

Only I didn’t get rid of that fear entirely the first time. Apparently one class didn’t rid a lifetime of fear, especially fear as an adult. I always envied my friends growing up who would go to the pool, splish splashing their way through summer. In the rare event that I did go to the pool, you could find me in hanging out in the shallow end, not knowing what to do with myself. I hate to place the blame here, but I think my fear of the water came one summer when my dad took us to a lake. He and I walked out to the water, and the stones under my feet were making me uncomfortable. So my father picked me up and carried me out. He was ready to let go of me before I was and the next thing I know I’m under water, eyes open staring out at the green muck gasping for air. I could probably still even stand where I was but everything seemed so deep to me, just as the world looms so large when you’re so little in it. The experience was so traumatizing to me I hated the water after that. I was probably 10 years old.


In South Africa, Chinese is the New Black June 19, 2008

Filed under: The Daily Grind — bloodsweatntears @ 4:37 pm

Say whaaaa? Yea. There was an article posted in the China Journal blog of the Wall Street Journal today. A high court ruled that Chinese South Africans will be reclassified as “black”. I know, it’s confusing. But the term “black” in South Africa includes not only bonafide black Africans, but also Indians and others who were subject to discrimination under apartheid. Apparently Chinese people have struggled with racism and lived in the outskirts since the early 20th century.

I’ve always been fascinated by the migration patterns of various groups of people; particularly in the spread of cuisine. People bring their culture and their food and it evolves with the new culture and environment. I wonder what Italian Chinese food would taste like? Are there various courses – first, second and third? I would imagine they would incorporate some regional flair into the food.

My friend Dave, who lived in South Africa for many years, refers to his Chinese South African friends as “chiggas”. Chinese niggas, if you will. I never understood where that term came from but now it makes more sense to me. It also made me realize how narrow my view was. I’m so focused on the plight of Asian Americans that I’ve managed to overlook the Asian experience in different countries. That’s a sign that I need to travel more! Either that or meet more international people.


If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Then Get Out Of The Kitchen June 15, 2008

Filed under: Food Porn — bloodsweatntears @ 4:51 pm

Yesterday was a rainy day and I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to have my own Top Chef Marathon. It was wildly entertaining for me, since my roots are firmly planted in food. Love, love love food.

I grew up in the back of a kitchen of a Chinese American restaurant in a blue collar city in the midwest. My earliest memories are surrounded by images of asian cooks and waitresses from various places abroad. Once in a while there would be the token caucasian – usually in the form of a waitress or hostess. Everyone else was from the fringes of society. Of course I did not realize this as a child. It only dawned on me as an adult, when I would go home and visit from my studies at the university. That was when I realized where I came from. I came from the womb of the restaurant world and I would spend the rest of my life trying to run away from it.

Instead of growing up playing with the neighborhood kids, most of my days were made up of hanging around the kitchen, prepping food and listening to the cursing and yelling of the cooks in a mixture of English and the various asian languages I was unfamiliar with. Sometimes my cousin Sophia and I would find a cook to pick on by shooting rubber bands or by sabotaging his take-out station. But most of the time we stayed out of the way or made ourselves useful by doing whatever needed to be done. I mean, what could kids really do in the kitchen? We ate shrimp chips and fortune cookies galore. We would remove the prefabricated fortune from the cookies and insert our own crude comments. We’d walk around and kill flies, keeping count and with a running tally for the winner. On hot days we’d hang out in the walk-in fridge until we got busted and sent back to work. We watched Popeye on a small black and white television in the closet. We’d make ourselves root beer floats. Not a bad place for a kid, really.

I remember doing work as soon as I was old enough to be told what to do. Some of my earliest memories are of making wontons with my brother and cousins in the back of the kitchen with my great grandmother. When I think about it, it was a great place for a family to be together, even if it was hard.


If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again June 11, 2008

Filed under: The Daily Grind — bloodsweatntears @ 4:46 pm



to refuse to have, take, recognize, etc.

Rejection is the act or process of rejecting. Our mothers tell us at a very young age, “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again”. Ah, words of wisdom. Of course it’s easier said than done. At this point in my life, I should be used to it by now. I’ve had my fair share in the last few months of my job search. So what have I learned from all this?

I learned that rejection is a part of life and that in order to get to where you want, you have to experience everything in its glory. It’s all about perseverance and persistence. I was a negative nelly for a few days, but somehow I’ve figured out how to turn rejection into more of a positive experience. It’s helping me hone into more of what I’m looking for.


Not My Baby Blues June 10, 2008

Filed under: The Daily Grind — bloodsweatntears @ 12:03 pm

At some point in the modern woman’s life, she may think about having children. The desire to have a child can hit a woman at any age. For me the pangs started when I was 28. I didn’t know it then, but that pang would grow into full-fledged baby mania for a few years. Thank god it didn’t last that long! Now, I have come to terms that it is a possibility it may not happen for me in this lifetime. Many people say to me, “oh, you have time, you’re young”. And I know that. But they don’t know my dating history and that it’s pretty rare for me to come across anyone I want to date, much less have a child with. Besides, this isn’t all about me as I know many women who actually try to conceive and can’t get pregnant. In this day and age women (especially urban women) start trying to have children later in their lives. I think it remains uncertain why some women are more fertile than others. What I do know is that it’s kind of a catch-22. Today women have a great opportunity to advance in their careers and live out a fabulous single life. There are plenty of choices and multiple paths to take, but at what expense?

The New York Times posted an article today titled “Facing Life Without Children”. The article talks about the growing online community of women who blog about their struggles. I never understood the power of online support groups until I had a personal issue come up last year. It was a place where I could go and talk about my issues under the umbrella of anonymity. And I never realized how many people out there struggle with the very same issues I was dealing with. It’s about time people started to share their stories of IVF treatments and personal experiences of natural conception to adoption. It’s a huge topic that touches every part of a woman’s life.

And, as good as the case to have children may be, I’m in no hurry to do it right now.


If You Can’t Beat It, Embrace It June 9, 2008

Filed under: Health and Happiness — bloodsweatntears @ 6:31 pm

I thought that going to yoga was the craziest idea in this weather. However they say that spicy food originated in hot/tropical climates because it makes people sweat; and sweating is the body’s natural defense against heat. The body cools down after a good sweat.

I went to Bikram Yoga yesterday and it was downright hellish. In fact it felt like my first class all over again minus the headache. The heat was so oppressive. I went again tonight because apparently I’m sort of masochist and it was a little better. Hey, the instructors were right, you do acclimate to the heat! Yes, it’s 95 degrees out, and it feels like it’s 200 degrees in the room. So what the hell, why not? The difference is you’re doing yoga. And I know it sounds crazy but it feels good. It feels good because it takes my mind off of everything else and forces me to be in the room, in the moment with my mind and body. Lately my mind has been polluted by negative thoughts. Not because I invite them in, it’s purely circumstantial. And normally I am able to fight them off when they try to creep in, but I’m feeling kind of vulnerable at the moment. So I figure it’s ok to feel that way once in a while. I think I’ll try to escape it by treating myself to an air conditioned movie tomorrow.

The best thing about doing yoga in this heat is the fact that that my muscles are already warmed up before I go in and I’ve been able to go further in the poses I normally struggle with. For instance, I think I’ll be able to grab my feet in Camel Pose soon! It’s only taken me oh, 40 days to get to this point in my practice. Although I am aware there is a lifetime worth of learning in yoga. Also, back bending is coming much easier and I’m really digging the fact that I can reach farther, go farther!!